Tessuti Margot and Sinclair Cachet

What fun…britches and a tee!

I’m totally immersed in sewing for warm weather. Believe it or not, I was cold taking these pics. It was in the low 70’s (I know, some of you are laughing), but I’m a Floridian. We get cold when the temps fall below 75…

Great combo. First the pants, the fun Tessuti Margo Pants. I bypassed the ties and added 3″, then turned the pants to an ankle length.

I added pockets, outlined below:

My topper is a variation of the Sinclair Cachet Tee. Easy changes – I dropped the sides to remove curves and cropped it! This can be done with a yard of fabric…

A note on the pants fabric. This is stretch cotton sateen from Mood Fabrics. The interesting bits:

  • Sateen is a unique cotton weave, but similar to its satin namesake – weft threads are floated over warp threads in a four-over-one-under pattern.
  • While the back is a dense warp/weft, the front has a bit of diagonal pattern. As with satin, the latter encourages the bias mechanical stretch of the fabric.
  • The elastane in stretch cotton sateen is incorporated in the weft, giving the fabric some horizontal stretch.
  • Just by nature of being cotton, the fabric has some heft. This and the elastane make it perfect for structured dress, jackets, and pants. It doesn’t wrinkle! yet has a nicely contained drape.
  • It goes through the laundry like a breeze, just a smidgen of shrinkage. As always, I laundered the yardage before I laid out the pattern 🙂
  • Bottom line for the sewist: Use a walking foot and be prepared to control raveling. These are very thin, tightly twisted and woven yarns. Beyond that, just enjoy. And check out the stretch cotton sateen fabrics at Mood, they have an incredible selection.

On the sewing table, a sunflower Blackwood cardi, the color is unexpected and definitely uplifting!

Bye for now – Coco

Ankara print maxi

The delight of working a large print and my favorite maxi silhouette…

I spent 5 days just thinking about this beautiful Ankara print from the House of Mami Wata. Then I laid the fabric across my living room floor and thought some more. I love large prints, they work so well with my love of maxi dresses. But balancing the dominant elements of a print can be a real challenge.

I started with the bodice from the Style Arc Patricia Rose dress. I love this bodice – it has a wonderful fitting dart in the front armscye, unusual but great for a small bust. And I used the skirt from the Patrica Rose as well. It has just the right small bit of gathering at the top and an angle down to the hem for swish. This is a great pattern by itself but wonderful for variations.

I only use the pattern without sleeves. So long ago I drafted armhole facings, which I sew with a 1/2″ seam allowance to the bodice.

I cut the bodice first…

And then the skirt….

I did not want to do the original pattern fold in the bodice, mostly because fancy folds so not launder well – I do not want to press my clothes, I just want to take them from the dryer to the closet. So I planned to use a bodice-to-skirt band instead. OK, after all that time of fabric draped across my living room floor, I was there! Print balanced between band bodice and skirt.

I ‘ve sewn 5 or 6 really nice garments this year, as yet not on the blog. I just struggle to put things on and take pics. You? Meanwhile, all the best, as always I hope you are well and loved,


Oh, the fails…

It happens…and it’s not pleasant! But sometimes a garment just doesn’t work. And it gets binned!

To share two recent bin additions. The first was a Love Notions Boyfriend cardigan, it’s down in the bin in the pic above. I sewed this pattern about 5 years ago, struggled then, but for some reason decided to give it another go with a piece of matte jersey that was in my stash. Umm. Awful. Terrible drafting. The worst part is that I knew, from start to almost-finished, that the cardigan would not fit well. I went back to my original version and realized that it took a LOT of re-drafting to make it work at all, and ultimately I did not keep that one either. Not to disparage the Love Notions patterns, the Sabrina slim britches are one of my favorites. Cardigan and the pattern – gone.

The second example is harder to swallow. I found this delightful print at the House of Mami Wata, and I just had to have it.

My oversight, it is 100% polyester. I spent 5 hours just placing and cutting the pattern. However, just working with the bodice, I knew I had a problem. It was like sewing acetate. I should have known better than to buy this fabric, regardless of the print.

I think current times have a weird effect on me. I don’t even mind the expense of these fails, I just accept them. I have, however, given myself a swift kick on the butt! In the end, I would rather not make such poor decisions as to pattern or fabric.

Sigh. Coco

Grainline Felix maxi dress

Spring is right around the corner here in Florida! Time for a new maxi dress to brighten the closet.

I found this delightful fabric online at The House of Mami Wata. The shop is new to me, and it’s incredible. So many beautiful African prints – check it out!

The print just invites a maxi dress with a flounce. After a bit of looking, I decided to use a variation of the Grainline Studio Felix dress. The bodice is fun, and the skirt has plenty of room to showcase a large print.

Sewing notes:

  • The pattern is somewhat oversized – this is size 4 (Grainline sizing), and it’s a great fit. BTW, when I first sewed the Felix, I used the size 8, per the sizing chart (post here). Then I went down to a size 6, still large, and am now happy with the size 4! It’s really just a matter of how one wants it to fit – I like a more slender silhouette.
  • As in all my previous versions, I used the same pattern piece for both sides of the front bodice. I just don’t care for all the fussy sewing that the original pattern requires!
  • Staying with the bodice, I also reshaped the armscye a bit. The pattern is really shaped for a sleeve to be added, so you might want to check the fit for a sleeveless version.
  • As before, no lining!
  • I used the midi length as my base and added an 11 1/2″ deep ruffle (finished).
  • The pattern includes pockets, which IMHO are awkwardly sized and placed (they’re in the bodice/skirt seamline).

Instead, I used a simple large patch pocket sewn across the side seam, my favorite approach for a casual maxi.

These are cut at 10.5″ wide x 12.5″ high, finishing at 9.5″ wide x 10″ high. A bit of interfacing in the self-facing prevents the top from sagging or flopping open.

  • A note on the fabric: this one, ANKARA – GREEN, GRAY ‘ARCADIA’, is 100% cotton and is unwaxed. After a test-washing a swatch, I tossed it in the washer and dryer. No running or loss of color whatsoever! It is so saturated with color that I can’t discern a difference between sides. As a precaution, I put a small safety pin on the ‘right’ side of all my pattern pieces as I cut them out, just in case there is a difference with continued laundering.

Love it! Bye for now – Coco

One of those clean-out days

Do you do this? It takes me a while, but over time I get ‘restless’ with things in my closet and remnants in my stash. Time to purge…

Don’t be shocked – the plaid rya coat is really pretty, but the colors and plaid are so far off my palette and print wheels that I was actually uncomfortable having the jacket in the closet.

More – somewhere in the pile is a red/white Kaufman seersucker Patrica Rose dress that really bugged me, even as I was sewing it! I know I’d never wear it.

Also four rayon knit tops that pill so badly around the neckline that I’m disgusted and will never sew rayon knit jersey again.

Also in there are things never worn – a cordoroy blue Gerard Manteau, a lime green fleece jacket.

And the entire content of my remnant stash bin!!

Feels better…Ciao, Coco

Grainline Studio Lark Tee tunic

Greetings from sunny Florida! Actually this the first really warm day in several weeks. And tonight we return to our typical winter chill. I like to take pics outside, but not when I’m cold!

It really has been chilly, and I’ve been lusting after some cozy long sleeve tees to wear over leggings. Typically my knit tops only last one season, so I’m filling a seasonal gap.

I chose to start with the Lark tee because it has a crew neck option and good bones. This is a great tee pattern:

Sewing notes:

  • I drafted the size 14, a couple sizes larger than I sew for a ‘regular’ tee shirt, to get the loose fit I like in a tunic.
  • The pattern has a generous center back length at 28″, to which I added 2″ for that tunic look (read that as ‘covers the tush’).
  • I also took out the form-fitting curves at the waist and hip.
  • DBP is relatively easy to sew, just test your machine and serger settings before starting. It’s densely knit and a bit spongy, think of an ITY with body. I find that a jersey needle works best – no skipped stitches or pierced threads.
I love this double-brushed poly knit from JoAnn – Ember Dark Orange Gingko Leaf. I got the last 2 yards from my store, and I think it’s sold out online.
  • The fabric is 58″ wide, so I had a nice remnant for an infinity scarf!

More pics:

Parting shot – the Christmas cactus continues to bring joy. They love the cool weather.

With warm thoughts, I hope this finds you well – Coco

Seeing the top of the mountain

Just some musings. And a small celebration. My county opened an appointment portal for 65+ residents at midnight, Dec. 29. I had been asking my doctors for info on when/where/how to get my vaccinations. And overnight, when the portal opened, I got a reply.

I got my appointments, for both my first and second jab, at 4:09 p.m., on the first day of of the portal. It was shut down at 5:51 p.m., all 42,000 appointments were taken, and there is no re-opening date in sight. My appointments are set for January 29 and February 26. I am so grateful, happy, relieved, to know I am in line. That’s my view of the top of the mountain. 12% of my county of 1.4 million residents, 168,000 people, are over 65 years old.

So now I am a little paranoid, climbing that hill, in avoidance mode. I’m diligent about using KN95 masks (from Amazon), and the vinyl gloves I harbor because I cannot use latex gloves.

Small earthly wonders. A year ago I bought a couple small pots of kalanchoe at the grocery. When they bloomed out, I dead-headed the blooms, stuffed them into a 10″ pot with some soil, and put the pot in the back yard.

And it’s January a year later. Cold outside! but what glorious color.

Parting remark: Because I am on an immunosuppressant medication, I have to get lab work every 4 weeks. This morning, early, at the lab, a man in the waiting room was porting a mask but had it pulled down under his mouth. I asked him to mask-up. He replied with how it was his life and he would do as he pleased. My reply was that I was concerned about my life, and I asked the door-keeper to remove him. Lots of grumbling, but he pulled up his mask. I get it. It’s a new paradigm. However – we have choices, I choose to advocate for myself. Be brave…

For now, with thoughts for all, Coco